Incredible how things fall in place so much more seamlessly when a team has two legitimate top 6 centres on the ice.
This was the first game since Kesler broke his foot that the Canucks were able to fully dictate play for the majority of the game.
It wasn't as simple as Roy stepping in and making everything better, the entire game plan changed and the wingers slotted back into their natural positions and they didn't have to keep an eye on what any Centre not named Henrik was doing. More importantly, with adequate lines up front, the defense was far more aggressive and quick moving the puck up the ice and pinching in the offensive zone and even the neutral zone for loose pucks.
Vancouver's defense is one of the most mobile and skilled groups in the league, but with the injuries up front they played far more conservatively. One big reason why I think Edler has looked somewhat uncomfortable at times is the reigns that have been put on his game, along with the other D, as the Canucks were struggling through injuries.
Thought Edler was much better last night, and as the team gets healthy he's going to begin to get more and more involved in the offensive side of the game which should help elevate his overall play.
I was a big fan of the Roy acquisition and I've been a fan of his for a while. He was great last night but never underestimate the adrenaline factor when a good, new player joins a squad. Even if he doesn't play as well as he did last night, his line was downright dominant, this is the level of play you can get out of this guy when games matter.
It's been a really shitty season for Canucks fans in terms of the entertainment value, which wasn't surprising with the lockout and injuries through the year. The public and internet discussion of the team has been a caricature, really dissuading any proper, reasoned discussion on this team. When you consider everything, the coaching staff and the team has done extremely well in the standings yet the discussion on the team has been overwhelmingly negative for much of the season. Maybe I'm just getting older, maybe it's the frustration over the lockout, but I had zero energy to enter long hockey debates.
But finally, with less than a dozen games left on the season we're seeing this team play a more conducive style to their talent and with Kesler coming back, there's reason for optimism and excitement as the playoffs near.
It's difficult to project how good this team will be when Kesler gets healthy and Roy settles in, and while they're not going to be favorites in the West, the Canucks should have enough to beat anyone in a playoff series. Without adding a C, the Canucks were a one or two round playoff team at best, but now if they can be mostly healthy and put it together, they're a legitimate playoff contender.